ICAO uses RFI process for swift action on UTM

The UN agency governing international aviation standards said it is employing the ‘more responsive’ request for information process in a bid to swiftly develop low-altitude drone operations and match the speed of the industry’s innovation.

The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) said it would begin establishing low-altitude traffic management guidance for domestic unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), and that industry, academia and other innovators will have a chance to further explore these issues later this year when ICAO convenes its Drone Enable symposium in September at its headquarters in Montréal, Canada.

“Today we’re seeing many new proposals and innovations emerging in terms of both unmanned aircraft and operations at lower altitudes,” said ICAO Air Navigation Bureau director Stephen Creamer. “ICAO recognizes that it’s the natural agency to be gathering together the best and brightest from government and industry to define how these craft can be safely integrated into 21st century airspace, and in a way that optimises their benefits globally for the wide range of public and private sector operators now exploring their potential.”

ICAO said that because of their size and operational profiles, unmanned aircraft and prototypes generally do not fit the definitions for normal aircraft operations established under the Convention on International Civil Aviation also known as the Chicago Convention.

“Our 191 member states asked us to begin looking into this at our 39th triennial assembly last October, and these new activities are ICAO’s response to that call,” said president of the ICAO Council Dr Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu. “Multiple states and regional groups have proposed creating something along the lines of a UAS airspace management tool for lower altitudes, along with registration and identification solutions and related initiatives. Our work through this RFI process will help to make sure that all related solutions set out are safe, secure, sustainable, and most importantly globally aligned.”

Three components that ICAO judges fundamental include: a registration system from which data is accessible in real time to allow remote identification and tracking of each drone, its operator/owner and location of the remote pilot/control station. “To accommodate UA that are increasingly transported from one state to another for either recreational or professional use, this database should allow global access.

It should also feature a communications system for control of the drone and for tracking all drones within the UTM area. The communications system used for tracking drones must be able to identify when a manned aircraft is entering UTM airspace and provide an acceptable level of protection between it and drones operating in the airspace. Furthermore, it must facilitate detection of potential collisions with other drones and with obstacles such that appropriate avoidance action can be taken;

Thirdly, it should feature geofencing-like systems that will support automatic updates by national authorities on the 28 day aeronautical information regulation and control (AIRAC) cycle to prevent drone operation in sensitive security areas and restricted or danger areas such as near aerodromes.

Submissions must: • describe at a high level a solution that can be implemented by all States; • allow for flexible implementation (e.g. dimensions of airspace) on a national basis while adhering to a common framework; • define infrastructure requirements and provide a recommendation on how these can be achieved; and take into consideration the cyber security environment within which the proposed solution would operate.

ICAO said its overriding goal is to better define the issues involved, whether technical, operational or legal, and also to ensure safety continues to remain the driving priority. “The agency understands that the sooner this framework is agreed upon globally, the sooner industry will be able to launch their UAS businesses with suitable levels of investment confidence,” it said.

Experts, companies and others wanting to contribute to the applicable ICAO Requests for Information will find information on its Drone Enable website, at icao.int/DroneEnable.

Read ICAO seeks proposals for global UTM plan

Posted in Innovation, News Tagged with:

Comments are closed.